CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Using Web-based CALL to Improve English Language Mastery at the Republic of China Air Force Academy

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Helen St. Aubin

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

The Republic of China, as a Foreign Military Sales country, has relied heavily on the United States (US) for military arms and supplies. Most of those arms need ongoing operational support and training from the US military. Due to this continued need for training in the US, the Republic of China Air Force Academy (ROCAF A), a military institution educating future Air Force officers, has been emphasizing English learning for its cadets. However, since the traditional instructor-centered method tends to encourage cadets to wait passively as receivers of knowledge, results have not been satisfactory based on their American Language Course Placement Test (ALCPT) scores, a standardized proficiency test used for measuring English ability. Literature indicates that blended learning is more effective than the traditional classroom type of instruction or purely online learning. In addition, due to the advances and popularity of Web-based and multimedia technologies, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) facilitates English learning in many ways and has become an important English learning tool.

The study designed a blended approach incorporating the Web-based activities into traditional classroom instruction to facilitate cadets' English learning and improve their ALCPT test scores. A commercial online CALL English learning system was licensed specifically for the current ROCAF A English class; the new learning approach was developed, implemented, and evaluated. The goal of the study was to use the proposed blended learning approach to improve the cadets' English language listening and reading comprehension thereby increasing the number of cadets qualified for training in the US.

The treatment was conducted with six classes of senior cadets in two groups over an eight-week period for three hours per week. The changes in ALCPT test achievement resulting from the treatment were found to have no statistically significant difference, but the experimental group actually showed greater improvement on the listening section, had more cadets (17) score higher than 70 than the control group (8), and had the only three cadets who scored higher than 80. In addition, the overall percentage of cadets in the two groups who scored higher than 70 (31.6%) was greater than the senior cadets of the last year, 2005 (16.8%). The cadets and the instructor in the experimental group, in general, had positive attitudes toward the use of the blended approach for learning and teaching.

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